On March 12, 1989, twenty-one residents of the Hudson Highlands met at Castle Rock, the Garrison home of Douglas and Sarah Banker. They came together because they were alarmed by mounting development pressure in the area and were determined to preserve the community’s rural character and scenic beauty. By the time the meeting ended, the Hudson Highlands Land Trust was formed: a Board of Directors, an Executive Committee, and a slate of officers had been elected; a start-up budget of $45,000 was approved; and a two-year plan of action had been adopted. On April 24, 1989, the Hudson Highlands Land Trust was issued a Certificate of Incorporation by New York State.

One HHLT founder wrote in 1989:

“As we approach the last decade of the twentieth century, the Hudson Highlands remain remarkably unspoiled by careless development, offering views of spectacular beauty from the river and from public vantage points on land.”

That this statement still holds true today is a source of pride to us and our supporters, and we are committed to ensuring the same can be said throughout the twenty-first century.


In September 2008, we became one of the first 39 land trusts nationwide to receive Land Trust Alliance accreditation, which certifies a land trust’s adherence to the highest standards in land conservation.

Almost three decades later, we now own 398 acres outright and hold 89 conservation easements, permanently preserving more than 3,000 acres from development. We also partner with other conservation organizations and state agencies to facilitate the permanent protection of thousands more acres. Beyond land conservation, we work closely with local municipalities on land use planning issues and have expanded our outreach efforts to inform and involve the greater community in our mission.

Recognizing that conservation is a regional issue, we have expanded our mission area over the years to include Philipstown, Putnam Valley, Highlands and Cornwall, and the Villages of Highland Falls and Cornwall-on-Hudson, as well as portions of Dutchess and Westchester counties.